Maddy this is an interesting idea, worth exploring. It might end once and for all the needless worry about getting back "in time" before the flag drops, due to being delayed. The councils depend for their fines not on anti-social, criminal conduct – but rather, on merely unforeseen events in the real world. And they sometimes revel in this arbitrary power.
The council would perceive at least two disadvantages of your scheme, only one of which they'd own up to. The first is the reduction in fines, which are of course highly profitable.
The second is that it might tend to reduce the availability of that parking space for other users. They would claim that short limits encourage turnover (and hence business for shopkeepers). I don't really buy this argument because shoppers will tire of the fines and in the long run go to big supermarkets, possibly out of town, where there are simply no parking worries.
I think its basically a fairer scheme, but unlikely to be implemented because the council loses out two ways: the cost of implementing it and the reduced fines. We would see it as fairer; the council would see it as a poor investment.
Many thanks, Maddy. Although it seems to be at an early stage. The Southampton news item also refers to a pilot scheme about to be launched by Westminster Council. I will try to follow-up both.
I'm sorry to see Mr Clive's cynical speculation about "the Council's" motives. (As if thousands of staff and 57 councillors were some kind of Borg collective 'Hive Mind'.) As well as being fairer, an efficient and cheap micro-payment scheme makes good financial sense. Although, purely as a guess, setting-up costs could be a barrier to this one.
The issue of having a turnover of parking spaces - so everyone gets a turn - could be resolved by having short-stay and long-stay bays; with increasing charges for the former. I've long advocated having an initial free period in some locations. For kiss & ride or stop & shop.
Alan I'm happy to see other councils prepared to give it a go. If its successful, it might even put pressure on LBH to adopt (?). But would you accept that LBH is more dependent (for general spending) on parking fines than other councils and would be loathe to see its income from this source fall?
There is of course one way that Haringey could make this scheme pay: to accept that the income stream from fines would stop - but make the normal cost of an Oyster-parking scheme so high that it more than makes up for the loss of fines.
Glad to hear you'll follow up the progressive councils' example.
"LBH is more dependent (for general spending) on parking fines than other councils"?
First, Clive, you know full well that it is illegal for any Council to use parking income for the general fund.
Second, you seem to be confusing pay-as-you-park (a fair system) with enforcement when some people simply don't and won't pay. How would you feel if you'd paid for your parking Oyster and found all the bays filled by drivers who hadn't paid because there were no fines?
Alan: you allude to ring fencing, which I've always thought is cracked up to be more than it really is.
First, if £1m of ring fenced money is going towards an existing budget (like roads) does this not mean that £1m of money raised from ordinary taxes could then be released for other purposes? i.e. just a displacement effect and, in effect, the "ring-fenced" monies can be used for any other purpose? Sometimes little accounting can be used and sometimes whole budgets are raided for purposes other than originally intended (Decent Homes, for example, for expensive digital TV aerials).
Second, could you expand a little on what Zena meant when she said on HoL Labour took the ring-fences off so Local Strategic Partnerships (LSP) could use the funding to meet key priorities ...
This struck me at the time as questioning the strength of the "ring-fence".
There's no confusion: we're talking about people who have paid, but who like Maddy have been fined when they: have gone five minutes over their meter payment, which has happened to me more than once.
Clive, we've been round this loop several times before. Your making the same assertions doesn't change the facts.
I'm not 'alluding' to ring-fencing. I'm referring to specific Court rulings that raising revenue is not, in its own right, a legitimate objective of parking enforcement.
Where we may agree is that too many councils now rely on income from traffic and parking fines as a 'normal' part of their budgets. Also, as you say, if a council spends parking income on roads, then it may have surplus funds to spend somewhere else. Or maybe not - since all councils are now having to budget for massive cuts.
Is Haringey more or less dependent on parking income than any other local authority in the UK? I really have no idea. As I've repeatedly said, the aim of enforcement by fines should be compliance - not income generation. (Just as ticket inspectors on the buses and tubes are there to persuade people to pay their fares. Not in the hope that thousands of fare dodgers will be caught and fined.)
Cllr Zena Brabazon's email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You know I was talking about an idea like this with a friend the other day... Weird. I don't think the council would go for this as you would only pay for the time you were there and they wouldn't be able to issue you with parking tickets. They wouldn't make much money. Unfair world really.
I'm a councillor, Saira. (For Tottenham Hale ward.) And I would go for it!
With one proviso, of course. That it doesn't cost us millions to set up. That's always a possible drawback for early adopters of a new technical scheme.
I'd also do my best to convince other councillors - which might be a lot easier than you think. Councillors, their families, friends and neighbours also get parking tickets - which are sometimes unjustified and unfair. And sometimes they too appeal and win!
It may seem counter-intuitive, but actually, paying for what we use is not only fairer, I think it's likely to generate more income. Isn't that how the Oyster card system works?
For a couple of years - along with former councillor Ray Dodds and LibDem Martin Newton, I've pressed council staff in Parking and Highways (*) to improve the service they give the public. Especially with the aim of getting fairness - as well as clarity, consistency and simplicity.
Admittedly progress is slow. As in every large organisation there are hard-working fair-minded staff who want to improve. While others - putting it diplomatically - haven't quite grasped that they're there to serve the customers; not the other way round.
¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ * I think it's now got some snazzy new name - something like "Sustainable Transport". A pointless renaming which confuses the public and probably costs more if the notepaper has to be reprinted.
It occurred to me last might that the technology to deliver a charging scheme based on the prnciple Madddy suggests is already in existence.
It's already used by car parks in Oxford and by the congestion charging scheme here in London. With both schemes you can register your details then just phone in to an automated system to 'buy' the service. No reason why that couldn't be adapted to phone in/phone out to to start/stop parking charges.
In fact these days a smartphone app could make it even easier and, since the goelocating capabilities of a smartphone device can pinpoint you very precisely, it would also make it possible to apply variable charges according to your location.
No physical equipment, like parking meter needed. So quick & cheap to implement, cheap to administer. Fair, popular, proven in a similar application and easy to use.